Juan José Arias
Juan José Arias Ogando was born and raised in a tight-knit, vibrant neighborhood of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. From a young age, he had a great interest in electronic devices and technology. Growing up in an environment surrounded by his father’s expertise as a technician, he developed a curiosity for disassembling, assembling, and repairing various gadgets, from toys to cell phones and computers.
In 2010, Juan José volunteered as a teenager with one of the VISIONS programs, which was then based in his neighborhood. He was a member of the Leo Club, which partners with VISIONS on service projects and activities. For college, he got halfway through an architecture degree before deciding that he wanted to pursue other interests.
Affectionately known as JJ by his VISIONS colleagues, he serves as our database administrator and IT support. JJ also brings creativity and his positive energy to the team. He found himself drawn to VISIONS as a way to cultivate different aspects of his life. “When this opportunity arrived, I saw in it the way to develop myself in different new ways. ∂You feel like you are part of something and what you do is meaningful for the team and communities we work with. Also, my team is awesome and we are always helping each other, we are always in communication.”
Juan José has worked as a website design contractor and he has also owned and run a billiard hall (a popular gathering spot in Santo Domingo) as well as a rental car company that worked with Uber drivers. Both of those businesses collapsed during Covid, which hit the DR economy hard.
“In the past I was focused on being “rich,” but at this point of my life I just want to have a house for my mother and to have the peace that she is happy. Also, I just want to see my different side projects grow, such as my Youtube and Twitch channel, which are hobbies I enjoy.”
In February 2023, just months into his job at VISIONS, JJ worked as a leader on a group Custom Program. “I have an anecdote from that time in the field,” JJ says, “and I call it, VISIONS worked my feelings. It was during an activity that we call Circle, when one of the activities was to, ‘share one of the challenging parts of your life and how you came through it.’ Once I started answering it, it was SO HARD. I had never in my life opened my feelings in front of a group of people. I didn’t know I had those hard feelings inside of me until that moment. The next day, we felt different about each other. We were feeling like close friends, like we were a family. I don’t know how exactly to explain it.”
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